Best Venues of 2010

Voting for the Best Venues of 2010 has closed, but here’s a look at some of the nominees from the category.

El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Earlier this month, Claire Gallagher caught “adorable” Kina Grannis at the El Rey.

Claire wrote, “Kina began her set around 10 to a roar of applause from a very excited and supportive audience.  The stage looked deep and cavernous and made Kina seem tiny…pixie-like.  Dust swirled around and caught the light as she kicked off with ‘World In Front of Me,’ featuring a xylophone which gave the song a delightfully childlike feel.   She chatted with the crowd in between songs with basically the most adorable demeanor I’ve ever witnessed: she was humble and bashful and grateful and giggly and silly and excited and nervous all at the same time.  She expressed several times her overwhelming excitement at playing such a big show (despite the small venue’s size, it was pretty packed). She requested the lights to be shined on the crowd several times in order to see our faces, which prompted her face to shift from a blinded-by-the-lights squint to a full-blown, raised-eyebrow I-just-got-a-pony-for-my-birthday look of awe as she surveyed the audience and shrieked and waved.”

Here’s a video of Kina’s “Cambridge” at the El Rey:

Read the rest of Claire’s post here.

The Wiltern Theater – Los Angeles, CA

In October, Cervante Pope reviewed Broken Social Scene’s show at The Wiltern.


photo credit: Cervante Pope

Cervante wrote, “After about a 20 minute intermission the theater lights dimmed, and one by one Broken Social Scene members crept their way onto the stage. At times the band has included up to 20 members, only 7 of which were present for this show. The crowd ecstatically greeted them with open ears, not so patiently awaiting their opening song. They began with ‘KC Accidental,’ a thick textured culmination of loud clashing cymbals, blasting bass drum and a repeated guitar riff that will niche itself in your head. The perfect opener, KC left us amped and wanting more.”

Read the rest of Cervante’s review here.

Soho – Santa Barbara, CA

Todd Prodanovich caught Local Natives’ show at Soho in September and recorded some live footage of the concert.

Todd wrote, “They’re Locals, they’re Natives, they’re Local Natives and they are a freakish quintet of preposterous talent. If you can’t enjoy their music, or at least recognize the skillful precision and emotional force of their sound, then you, my friend, probably have something wrong with you. I hate to be so brazen, but their performance at Soho on Monday was a tour de force, knocking me off my feet and onto the cold hard floor of the venue. I’m actually still on the floor, laying in shock and probably some stale spilt beer, barely able to write this and publish it via cell phone. I’ll get up eventually – after all, I bought their vinyl and want to get home to listen to it.”

Here’s a video of Local Natives’ “Warning Sign” performed at Soho:

Read the rest of Todd’s post here.

Spaceland – Los Angeles, CA

Last September, Laurel Kathleen reviewed AA Bondy’s show at Spaceland.


photo credit: Laurel Kathleen

Laurel wrote, “Though last night’s concert was atypically early for a headliner (10pm), AA Bondy had no problem packing the dancefloor at Spaceland. He began the set with a drummer and bassist who also played the pedal steel guitar and keyboard. He then performed solo with his guitar and harmonica before inviting the band back onstage for the last four or five songs. He mumbled a few words between songs, and I didn’t understand anything but a brief reference to the movie Tron. He seemed just as comfortable onstage alone as he did taking the reins when the band came back on. The trio had excellent chemistry, and the combination of a guitar, bass, and drums was just as interesting as the alternate combination of the guitar, steel pedal, and keyboard.”

Read the rest of Laurel’s review here.

Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY

Kristina Villarini caught Bear In Heaven’s November 20 show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Kristina wrote, “The indie sensation played for a sold-out crowd eager to bop and sway to their brand of danceable, experimental funk. The crowd was a varied bunch, from hipsters and audiophiles to the punk-rock sect that usually moshed to Dead Kennedys. [...] One hour later, the fog and red strobe lights came and brought with it, the gift of sound. Jon, Joe and Adam powered through the hits of Beast Rest Forth Mouth including ‘Beast in Peace,’ ‘Lovesick Teenagers’ and ‘Dust Cloud.’ Jon stopped once to state his enthusiasm about their return and his genuine admiration for traveling in their van with Joe and Adam, but even during moments of candor, the band never lost their step. Friday night’s show was one big dance party, and everyone was thrilled to be there.”

Read the rest of Kristina’s review here.

Terminal 5 – New York, NY

Kristina Villarini also reviewed Robyn’s concert at Terminal 5 last month.

Kristina wrote, “Creating live remixes and feeding off the crowd, she performed at Terminal 5 as if it was a stadium.  Robyn performs without the add of any sonic trickery or backup singers, and the exchange is authentic: We dance, she sings.  That’s why we showed up, to dance and watch in awe as she tore through ‘Love Kills,’ ‘Indestructible,’ a cover of ‘Cobrastyle’ by the Teddybears, and performed two encores, closing with a cover of ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen.’ Truly, that is what she is.  And what she made us last night.”

Here’s a video of Robyn’s “Hang With Me” performed at Terminal 5:

Read the rest of Kristina’s review here.

The Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY

Jesse Diener-Bennett caught The Dig, Grouplove and The Joy Formidable at The Bowery Ballroom last month.


photo credit: Jesse Diener-Bennett

Jesse wrote, “The crowd at the Ballroom was almost exclusively there to see The Joy Formidable, but Grouplove got more than its fair share of enthusiastic applause. At the end of their set, as everyone waited impatiently for They Joy Formidable to take the stage, I heard one guy behind me remark that he usually can’t stand sitting through the opening acts – ‘but these guys were pretty good.’”

Read the rest of Jesse’s review here.